Times Standard (Eureka)

House GOP seeks new restrictio­ns on use of American oil stockpile

- By Matthew Daly

For the second time this month, House Republican­s are seeking to restrict presidenti­al use of the nation’s emergency oil stockpile — a proposal that has already drawn a White House veto threat.

A GOP bill set for a vote Friday would require the government to offset any non-emergency withdrawal­s from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve with new drilling on public lands and oceans. Republican­s accuse President Joe Biden of abusing the reserve for political reasons to keep gas prices low, while Biden says tapping the reserve was needed last year in response to a ban on Russian oil imports following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden withdrew 180 million barrels from the strategic reserve over several months, bringing the stockpile to its lowest level since the 1980s. The administra­tion said last month it will start to replenish the reserve now that oil prices have gone down.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attacked the latest GOP proposal, which follows a bill approved two weeks ago that would prohibit the Energy Department from selling oil from the strategic reserve to companies owned or influenced by the Chinese Communist Party.

“House Republican­s will vote to raise gas prices on American families ... and help Putin’s war aims by interferin­g with our ability to release oil,” Jean-Pierre said, referring to the current GOP bill. “These extreme policies would subject working families to immense financial pain and balloon our deficit, all just to benefit the wealthiest taxpayers and big corporatio­ns.”

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, appearing with Jean-Pierre at the White House, said the bill would make it “harder to offer Americans relief in the future” from oil disruption­s that could raise prices.

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